About 6 months ago, I accepted the enormous responsibility of leading the children’s ministry at my local church. When the former leaders first approached me, I hesitated. I knew that taking the role would be an immense amount of work. It required a healthy, reliable volunteer base that I knew the ministry always struggled with and extra time used to make scheduling decisions, select appropriate curriculum and make creative decisions regarding the design of the rooms, signage and other things. Where exactly would I get that extra time on top of working a full-time job and everything else I needed/wanted to do? It’s easy for me to get overwhelmed. But, I love the kids a lot, and I really wanted an opportunity to serve more and learn more about God. At the time, I also took solace in the fact that it would be a co-leadership position so I’d have additional help with the leadership responsibilities.
What I didn’t realize is that the leadership role would challenge me beyond anything I anticipated and provide me with an opportunity to grow in my personal and professional life, too. Since I’ve taken over the role, I’ve researched and established a new curriculum for elementary kids, recruited volunteers, trained volunteers, and have planned and implemented schedules at least a month in advance while often filling in when volunteers cancel last minute. I’ve gained experience managing a team and teaching kids of all ages. Beneath all the layers I’m learning a lot about patience, which seems to be the theme in my life lately.
The role increased in difficulty when my co-leader moved to a different state and there were no willing volunteers to take her place. Leading such an important ministry has proven to be extremely stressful at times and the challenges keep coming. I’ve often completely freaked out over coverage for a particular Sunday unsure how I would manage, and I’ve definitely been at points where I just had no idea what my next steps should be. Oh, the joys of a Type A personality. But, the last thing I want to do is forget why I took the leadership role to begin with, which was (and still is) out of a desire to serve God purely and simply. My church had a need that needed to be filled, and I wanted to fill that need. God is pretty amazing because He knew the role would be good for me. Even so, I have to be realistic with my limits. My mom reminds me that I’m only one person, and that my church can’t utilize someone who is burnt out. She’s right.
The most difficult part about my ministry is scheduling. My church has three services (two morning and one evening). We’re currently unable to fill the need in the evening service, and it can often be a struggle to gather enough volunteers for both morning services. Issues get thrown my way last minute – from last minute call-offs to way too many kids for two volunteers in a room (luckily, this doesn’t happen too often), and these problems can all be hard to deal with on the spot. Through it all though, God has held me together. Somehow things work out alright even when I’m overwhelmed. This seems to be the other theme in my life at the moment. Leading the children’s ministry has allowed me to form bonds with the kids and ignited a love for teaching I didn’t even know existed! (who knew!?). When I first started volunteering 2 years I had no idea how to teach a lesson or manage a room full of kids, but it’s amazing to see how practice makes perfect. This experience has been really humbling, and I hope to continue growing and challenging my faith in new ways.